Thursday, March 20, 2003

[3/20/2011] Glorious outdoor music -- Handel's "Royal Fireworks Music" and "Water Music" (continued)


Rimma Shushanskaya conducts the Berlin Sinfonietta in the "Alla Hornpipe" that either concludes the first Water Music suite or is part of the second, in the Philharmonie, Berlin, Christmas Day, 2008.


First, let's pick up the two movements we didn't hear Friday night, the Ouverture and the concluding double Menuet. (You'll notice that it's possible to lay out the two Menuets quite differently.)

HANDEL: Music for the Royal Fireworks:
i. Ouverture
v. Menuet I and II

i. Ouverture
v. Menuet I and II
English Chamber Orchestra, Raymond Leppard, cond. Philips, recorded c1970

i. Ouverture
v. Menuet I and II
Boston Baroque, Martin Pearlman, dir. Telarc, recorded Jan. 2-4, 2002

Now we're going to hear the complete Fireworks Music, first in Pierre Boulez's New York Philharmonic recording, then in the famous 1959 recording based on Handel's original all-winds scoring (as we learned Friday: 24 oboes, 12 bassoons plus a contrabassoon, nine trumpets, nine French horns, three pairs of kettledrums, and an unspecified number of side drums). I've drawn a blank recalling where I read an account of the recording session for this wild project; fortunately Amazon commenter Peter J. Schlefelbein recalls the crucial circumstance: that the recording was made after midnight in order to make it possible for that vast horde of allprofessional wind players (notably the 26 oboists!) to take part. Dare I say that I find the idea of this recording more intriguing than the musical but workmanlike performance? Still, it's a joyful clatter.

HANDEL: Music for the Royal Fireworks
i. Ooverture: Adagio -- Allegro; Lentement -- Allegro
ii. Bourrée
iii. La Paix (Peace): Largo alla siciliana
iv. La Réjouissance (Rejoicing): Allegro
v. Menuet I and II

New York Philharmonic, Pierre Boulez, cond. CBS/Sony, recorded Dec. 22, 1973
Wind Ensemble, Charles Mackerras, cond. Pye/Vanguard, recorded April 1959
UPDATE REMINDER: This recording has been reissued by Testament, and given the usual quality of their technical work, I'll bet their reissue sounds swell, but I don't have it -- those Testament CDs are expensive. This is a humble dub of my Pye LP.



Since every conductor of the Water Music has a clear prerogative to mix and match the 20-some movements as he or she sees fit, it's virtually impossible to sync up any two performances, which dashed my hopes of offering one suite each from three recordings.

Instead, we're going to hear two complete recordings from which we have as yet heard nothing -- broken down and sequenced exactly the way they are on the CDs.

HANDEL: Water Music
Suite in F major
i. Ouverture; ii. Allegro-Andante-Allegro; iii. Allegro; iv. Air;
v. Menuet; vi. Bourrée; vii. Hornpipe; viii. Andante
Suite in G
i.Minuet; ii. Rigaudon; iii. Minuet I and I, Country Dance
Suite in D major
i. Allegro; ii. Hornpipe; iii. Minuet; iv. Lentement; v. Bourrée
Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Karl Münchinger, cond. Decca, recorded c1981

HANDEL: Water Music
Suite in F
i. Ouverture; ii. Allegro-Andante-Allegro; iii. Allegro; iv. Air;
v. Menuet; vi. Bourée; vii. Hornpipe; viii. Andante
Suites in G major/minor and D major
i. Allegro; ii. Alla Hornpipe; iii. Sarabande; iv. Rigaudon;
v. Lentement; vi. Bourrée; vii. Menuet; viii. Gigue; ix. Minuet
La Grande Écurie et la Chambre du Roy, Jean-Claude Malgoire, cond. CBS/Sony, recorded 1983


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